Friday, January 14, 2011

Arizona Shooting

I don't think the young schizophrenic, Jared Lee Loughner, was driven by right-wing political extremism, he was all over the place and leaned toward the apolitical, but he was talking the same trash on YouTube, he adopted the script that was available to him, so it's a good a time as any to reflect on the state of politics today. The point I would like to make is this: the left just doesn't talk this way, at least almost never, and never which such unbridled zeal. Nobody but the extreme (and sometimes middle) right employ such violent and hateful imagery:

"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95

"Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."

- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton

"We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."

- Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

- Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02

"Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past - I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble - recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an 'enemy of the people.' The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, 'clan liability.' In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished 'to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed."

- John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01

"Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of White men."

- State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01
Published on Truthout (

For a thorough review of right-wing rhetoric, see a recent conversation on Democracy Now with Francis Fox Piven, a sociologist targeted by Glenn Beck on many occasions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BreakAway - Service trip to New Orleans 2011

These are some photos and sociological ruminations from the most recent Millikin University "Breakaway" trip to New Orleans, where we spent a week helping those STILL in need of help. We were all struck by the ongoing needs of the area, particularly in the St. Bernard Parish where we worked. We were also struck by the optimistic attitude of a community ravished by a hurricane and, most recently, by an oil spill. They've been hit hard, but continue to bounce back from it all. We heard so many compelling stories of survival, compassion and injustice. One story that highlights the human side of the tragedy can be read in a book titled, Zeitoun (plot: a Muslim man, a local painter with a good heart, remains in the devastated area to assist stranded neighbors and animals, only to be carted away by the FBI as a suspected "terrorist.") True story.


To better understand sociology's contribution to disaster research, check out this online article entitled, "Finding and Framing Katrina: The Social Construction of Disaster", By Havidán Rodríguez & Russell Dynes. This study criticizes the media's framing and storytelling of the disaster, dispelling the popular myths, for example, that there were hundreds of deaths, bodies and rapes at the Superdome. Another subject not well reported by mainstream media, was the aftermath of relocation, such as the 600 African Americans that were displaced to conservative, white, Mormon Utah - see the full documentary from Free Speech TV, entitled "Desert Bayou" on YouTube..

The full congressional, bipartisan report on the government's (lack of) timely reaction to this nation's worst national disaster, is here, entitled, "A Failure of Initiative."

For a complete bibliography of social science research related to Katrina, go HERE.

See archived photos from survivors HERE.